Monday, April 8, 2019

Book Review: In Sickness and In Health

About the Book:

Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? 
When you first met your spouse you probably had a physical response to the emotions you felt. You’d get butterflies in your stomach, your heart would race, and your palms would sweat. So why is it that after you’re married, it’s so hard to make the connection between your physical health and your emotional well-being when you’re facing relational stress?
If your emotional pain feels physical and your physical pain feels emotional, your marriage may be making you sick—literally. Join Dr. David Hawkins and his sons, an internist and a surgeon, as they explore the effects relational stress and trauma can have on our bodies. You will learn to . . .
  • recognize the link between emotional and physical pain
  • embrace the power of choice to become empowered by hope
  • find a path forward to ultimate restoration and regain your life
No matter what kind of pain you’re experiencing, or how long your health has been in decline, you don’t have to stay stuck. Discover hope and healing when you take control of your life.

My Thoughts:
When I was a young wife, I eagerly read Christian marriage books. Now, fifteen years into marriage I'm highly selective about what marriage books I read, having recognized that some of them perpetuate lies, unhealthy thinking patterns, and even abuse. Therefore, when I chose to read In Sickness and In Health by David Hawkins, Ph.D.,with Tyson Hawkins, M.D., and Joshua Hawkins, M.D., I went in a bit skeptical, questioning if the authors could marry Christian beliefs with a healthy perspective on struggling marriages.

I'm glad I took the time to read In Sickness and In Health as it fascinated me from the beginning. I knew little to nothing of psychosomatic medicine before reading the book. Much of the information about how mental and emotional stress can impact one's body was totally new to me. I would say at least half the book addresses physical symptoms of stress in marriage before moving on to encouragement for wives in difficult marital situations.

In terms of bias for or against divorce, I'd say In Sickness and In Health stayed pretty neutral. It didn't lean heavily to either side though it did acknowledge that divorce is sometimes necessary. The book doesn't attempt to delve into theological issues regarding divorce. Rather, it focuses on getting the woman to notice her symptoms, acknowledge that a difficult marriage may likely be the source of her physical ailments, and empower women to pursue healing – emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically, and relationally.

The premise is that when a woman prioritizes and pursues health, she will start the process of making healthy decisions that will likely beget more healthy decisions, healthy patterns, and healthy relationships. Dr. David Hawkins (who is the main author) doesn't attempt to address every issue that a woman may face in a struggling marriage, though plenty of examples are given. He's honest that becoming healthy requires effort and there will be both difficult times and hard decisions.

Hands down, Chapter 10 (Disappointment with God) was my personal favorite as it deals with personal faith as it relates to marriage. He's honest that faith can be a source of confusion for wives when theology is mixed with partial truths and personal thoughts. I liked that Dr. Hawkins affirms that wives are allowed to have healthy boundaries, stand up to abuse, and that God is with the person who puts his or her trust in God. I loved the end of the chapter where he states: “From a crisis, however, we can expect a new life to emerge, a new faith to be reborn.” I have found this true in my own life and marriage.

In Sickness and In Health: The Physical Consequences of Emotional Stress in Marriage by David Hawkins, Ph.D., with Tyson Hawkins, M.D., and Joshua Hawkins, M.D. was highly interesting to me. Because of its honesty, information, and healthy perspective, I can recommend it to wives in difficult situations. Also, women can find a great deal of helpful information in the book in regards to being mentally and emotionally healthy, not just in marriage, but in all of life.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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